Business

Automation in Cell Therapy Manufacturing

The concept of automation conjures up images of robots on assembly lines or perhaps automobiles replacing horse-drawn carriages. In both examples, automation provides an ability to work tirelessly, with reproducible high-quality outputs at increased speed. For cell therapy, automation can be used to increase the scale of cell culture operations (e.g., bioreactors replacing flasks) and allow the use of closed systems that can protect cell products from contamination with adventitious agents from the environment or operators themselves. Closed systems also…

Collaboration Will Drive Regenerative Medicine: Toronto Development Center Will Help to Advance the Field

With support from the federal government of Canada, GE Healthcare and the Centre for Commercialization of Regenerative Medicine (CCRM) are pushing into new frontiers to advance the progress of cell therapy and regenerative medicine. When I first met Michael May, president and chief executive officer (CEO) of CCRM, both our organizations had been exploring opportunities in parallel to drive the cell therapy industry forward. CCRM’s mission is to create and sustain a global nexus for company creation, technology and cell…

Achieving Competitive Advantage in the Biopharmaceutical Industry

Drug development is a complex process that is associated with high drug-candidate attrition rates, long development times, and high costs (1, 2). Drug development costs have increased over the past two decades, with current average development cost of about US$2.6 billion, of which $1.4 billion is the direct cost (1, 2). On average, drug development takes at least 10 years to market authorization (2). Biopharmaceutical companies often follow a strategy of developing drugs for multiple clinical indications and biological targets…

CMC Strategy Forum Special Focus Series: Part 2 Product-Related Impurities, An Overview

Introduction by Cheryl Scott The CMC Strategy Forums focus on relevant chemistry, manufacturing, and controls (CMC) issues throughout the life cycle of a therapeutic and thereby foster collaborative technical and regulatory interaction. Forum chairs share information with regulatory agencies to help them merge good scientific and regulatory practices. Outcomes of forum meetings are published in BioProcess International and on the CASSS website. This process is meant to help ensure that biopharmaceutical products manufactured with advancing technologies in a regulated environment…

The Year of Data Integrity: 2015 Brought a Worldwide Focus on Training, System Design and Control, and Data Management

Each year, regulatory agencies from around the world focus on critical aspects of the pharmaceutical quality management system, bringing awareness to the industry and continuing to effect positive change. In the past five years, risk assessments, electronic records, and outsourced activities have been in the spotlight. As 2015 closed out, it was clearly the year of data integrity. In March 2015, the UK’s Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) published its GMP Data Integrity Definitions and Guidance for Industry,…

Clinical Supply Chain: A Four-Dimensional Mission

A clinical supply chain fulfills perfectly all four characteristics of what Packowski describes as a “VUCA” (volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity) world (1). In commercial markets, supply chains depend predominantly on consumer orders. For global drug development programs, both investigators and patients can be considered end consumers. The international journey of a specific investigational medicinal product (IMP) includes all of the following: global sourcing of comparators, manufacturing, storage, distribution, site/patient (consumer) management, and return and destruction of the IMP. Application…

Opportunities in Latin America Beyond the Olympics

Olympics fans aren’t the only ones turning their eyes toward Brazil. According to JLL’s fourth annual Life Sciences Outlook, the 2016 Summer Games host nation is also one of the world’s top 10 “Global Clusters to Watch,” thanks to its proven capacity for medical device manufacturing and a growing healthcare market. Increasingly, Latin America overall has been on the radar for life sciences companies seeking greater operational efficiency and opportunity, expanded market access, promising demographics, lower-cost land and labor, and…

Responding to an FDA Form 483: A Five-Step Approach

When the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) inspects your company’s biomanufacturing facility, investigators use the FDA Form 483 to record observations and findings (1). Such inspections typically review all good manufacturing practices and good laboratory practices (GxP) quality systems documents. If those investigators find compliance issues, they deliver a summary of their observations and findings using a Form 483, a copy of which will be provided to your company at the end of the inspection visit. How to Respond…

Developing Markets Bring Opportunity But Not Without Real Estate Risk

Life-sciences markets develop in their own way, but one aspect they all have in common is the unpredictability of their growth. Not only are local economies unpredictable, but so are companies and their needs. Driven by competing pressures to seek new markets and new innovations while operating more efficiently, biopharmaceutical companies are increasingly setting their sights on new horizons abroad. Those investments are not without risks, however. Real estate is at the core of overseas expansion, and that’s where it…

Hiring and Staffing in Biopharmaceutical Manufacturing: Five-Year Trends Indicate Difficulty in Filling Positions

The biopharmaceutical manufacturing industry continues to expand rapidly, with growth in revenue for both suppliers and drug innovators averaging about 15% per year. Understandably, much of the industry’s recent focus has been on the pace of technological improvements that have boosted productivity and performance. But another issue is becoming just as critical: The flow of skilled staff able to keep up with the industry’s growth isn’t keeping pace. Results from our 2015 annual industry study suggest that the hiring market…